Criminal Minds (Seasons 1-8)

Do you like shows about bad boys? And by that I mean serial killers? If so, and you enjoy seeing these bad boys and girls get their come upping’s, then Criminal Minds is the show for you! It has evil doers, smart dudes, toughies, and the occasional super-criminal badass; aside, it is written with humor, some depth, and emotional charges which shake things up in what is an otherwise dreary show about people catching people who kill people.

The character line-up is as follows: Dr. Reid- super genius with multiple Ph.Ds.’ ; Morgan- the stereotypical black muscle-head who also happens to be a ladies man; JJ- media liaison and a super nicey, she brings the demanded feminine charm to what is a whole bunch of testosterone; Garcia- computer hacker extraordinaire turned FBI henchwoman with an all seeing technical eye; and Hotchner and Rossi, two of the most respected profilers in the bureau. In addition, there are cast members who change from season to season but since they are not around for too long I won’t waste breath in describing their temporary presence.

These people are Profilers. Individuals who are trained to study human behavior and build profiles off of the suspect’s (“unsub”) murder technique, targets, and general (supposed) mental disposition. They study crime scenes, interview people close to the victims, and snoop around in people’s business to hunt down the sicko responsible for the death of innocent citizens.

Does each episode have a formula? Yes. Watch enough and you will see the convenient plot jumps and occurrences pop up with gusto and rage at the absurdity of some of the case developments. Even so most of the time the behavior of the killers are still believable (for better or worse) and if you are able to ignore the typical plot devices which are liable to pop up in a TV show, then you will enjoy yourself. Nonetheless, the depiction of a ‘cognitive interview’ is still complete nonsense. But hey, the entertainment is in watching how the killer is caught and what drove him or her to commit such horrendous acts in the first place, so you can’t complain too much when eye rolling logical leaps happen.

There is no singular plot from season to season. Each character has their own sub-plot which develops from one season to the next but even so there is no ultimate villain or objective to pursue. Which is a shame because the few moments which a recurring murderer is shown are highly intriguing; episodes involving the Reaper and the Replicator were fascinating to watch yet as they were rushed through due to time constraints (and what I thought was generally poor writing), they lost much potential as villains who could have had more longevity. Following this route, though the sub-plots are generally well handled, they do not end with a coherent close (with perhaps the exception of Morgan). Some are better depicted than others; Dr. Reid had some closure but Garcia and Kevin had none whatsoever; just as JJ had but vague hints of any such personal affliction. Since the focus is on the unsubs, obviously, however, the forced plots relating to the characters themselves takes a back seat.

In the end Criminal Minds is an awesome show. It has faults, yes, but it delivers where the action counts- on bringing the law breakers to justice. Each episode is varied and on numerous occasions throw a curve ball at you which really makes you think. What starts as a seemingly conventional murder ends with ‘wow, didn’t see cannibalism coming!’ The actors are great, and though the writing and sub-plots have their missteps, they still manage to have originality. Though the series finale could have been more grandiose, I have seen worse endings for a TV show. So all in all any fan of detective crime will want to at least try Criminal Minds.

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